Fix the obstacles at No-Contact Apprehension sites


Iñigo S. Roces

Recently, local government units like Quezon City and Pasay have begun to employ their own No Contact Apprehension Programs (NCAP) to catch erring motorists, particularly at some troublesome intersections.
Granted, NCAP can be a big boon to traffic enforcement, particularly at intersections where many motorists seem to ignore lane markings and often try to beat the red light. There are quite a lot of intersections like this and following the lights, the lane markings, and waiting for one’s turn can certainly reduce the likelihood of accidents.

In just the past months many motorists have taken to social media to complain about citations they received in some intersections covered by the NCAP. At first glance, it appears they have indeed been ignoring the lane markings and turning right from the far left lane. On their own, these cases appear to be clear violations, with many of the vehicles pictured evidently on the wrong lane.

Fortunately, I live quite close to a few of these ‘notorious’ sites and got to get a good look at a few of them. Easily one of the most egregious is the one on E. Rodriguez corner Hemady. There are quite a number of complaints regarding this intersection. I admittedly dismissed it at first as many of the cars are clearly on the wrong lane.

However, when I was driving around that area, I saw exactly why so many turn right from the far left lane. Positioned right under the surveillance camera (and thus hidden from view) is some road repair surrounded by barriers. It looks like Manila Water is repairing something on the right most lane of the road and have barricaded the repair site to keep their staff safe. Unfortunately, this site is right under the camera and cannot by seen by those watching the camera to tag and apprehend motorists. The construction also takes up the entire lane making it impossible for cars to stick to the right lane to make the turn.

Granted, the repair site is a few meters from the corner, and there’s still some room to move partially into the right lane. However, from the camera’s point of view, it will look like the car is still coming from the left lane and cutting across the right lane to make the corner. This could still be tagged as another violation (swerving), or still cited as ignoring lane markings, depending on the staff manning the cameras and writing the citations.

There’s another site in Pasay where there’s construction right at the edge of the intersection and in the middle of two lanes. In this case, cars are forced to go the extreme left or extreme right to clear the obstacle. It’s pretty clear that the left lane is the one to take for those going straight. However, I can see how some drivers may opt to take the right side if traffic is heavy or they don’t wish to cut off another driver.

In both cases, it would be prudent if the staff behind the No-Contact Apprehension were to physically visit the sites to understand why there are so many violators in a particular intersection. Indeed, there are quite a lot of reckless Filipino drivers. However in cases like these, sometimes, it’s physical obstacles that can’t be avoided.

There should be some extra consideration for problematic intersections like these, or at least hold off on catching violators until the road repairs are complete.

(Iñigo S. Roces is the Motoring Editor of Manila Bulletin)